Man Threatens to Murder Children Due to Israel-Hamas Conflict

A Palestinian girl looks at masked militants of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas, celebrate at a victory rally at the debris of destroyed houses in Shijaiyah, neighborhood of Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday / AP

A Palestinian girl looks at masked militants of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas, celebrate at a victory rally at the debris of destroyed houses in Shijaiyah, neighborhood of Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday / AP

Washington Free Beacon, By Adam Kredo:

An Ohio school was placed on lockdown Wednesday after a man with a “heavy accent” phoned the school and threatened to murder children with an AK-47 due to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to local police.

All schools in Pickerington, Ohio, were placed on lockdown after an unknown man made a threatening call to the Pickerington North High School, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon.

The man, who claimed to have an AK-47, said he planned to launch an attack on the school and kill students over his apparent anger at the Middle East conflict, Phalen said.

“The school received a call [at around 11:15 a.m.] from a male with a heavy accent and he indicated that he was going to attack Pickerington North due to attacks on Israel and was going to kill the kids and that he had an AK-47 gun,” Phalen recounted.

“He identified himself as ‘Mohammed Shehad,’” or something similar to that, and claimed to live in the area, Phalen said, explaining that those who fielded the call were unsure precisely what last name the man provided.

“My sense is that due to the way he identified himself it sounds like he was upset at Israel,” though the individual’s exact motivations remain unclear, Phalen said. At this point, authorities “really don’t know what his frame of mind was or what he was thinking.”

All area schools were placed on “exterior lockdown” as a precautionary measure, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

School will resume on Thursday and an officer will be assigned to Pickerington North. Additional deputies will also be in the area, Phalen said.

Fairfield County detectives also are beginning to investigate the matter to determine the individual’s identity.

“We have detectives assigned to that; they’re working on trying to trace the phone number and identify the suspect,” Phalen said.

Patrick Poole, a terrorism analyst who lives in the area, said he believed the threat was made by a person upset with Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip.

“We have had a growing problem here in the Columbus area for years that local law enforcement and the media want to continue to sweep under the carpet,” Poole said. “Not only has Central Ohio been the home of the largest known al-Qaeda cell since 9/11—with several members currently in prison on terrorism charges and at least two deported—we’ve had a number of cases of homegrown jihadists come through town, including al-Shabaab rapper Omar al-Hammami and Little Rock Army recruiting station killer Carlos Bledsoe.”

“An al-Shabaab recruiter and fundraiser from the area was killed in a firefight in Mogadishu in 2010, and we know of several cases of young men who have left from Columbus to join the Somali terrorist group,” Poole said. “One of the original online jihadist forum operators, Sarfaraz Jamal, grew up in the area and initially ran his operation from his Worthington home.”

Additionally, “we just had a pro-Hamas rally at the statehouse a week and a half ago, a regular feature here in central Ohio whenever there is conflict in that part of the world,” Poole noted. “In fact, two of our local Hamas activists are currently in prison in Egypt. Now that the threat is targeting area school children, hopefully it will begin to wake people up to the scope of the problem.”

Pentagon Unaware that Qatar Funds Terrorism

 

Washington Free Beacon:

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said he finds media reports that Qatar is funding terrorism to be “concerning” if in fact “the reports are true.”

Kirby appeared to be unaware of State Department and Treasury Department intelligence reports categorically confirming that Qatar is a chief financier of terrorist activities, including of the group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, Kirby maintained that the U.S. relationship with Qatar remains “solid” and that reports of the Muslim country’s terrorist activities would be concerning if true.

“We continue to have a solid military-to-military relationship with Qatar,” Kirby told reporters, referring to recently inked $11 billion arms deal signed by the U.S. with Qatar.”

“As you know, Secretary Hagel has spent a lot of time with the GCC nations. We were just there a couple of months ago. And we want to continue to broaden that military-to-military relationship. And that’s our focus is on the military relationship.”

Kirby seemed completely unaware of U.S. intelligence reports on the matter of Qatar’s funding for terrorism.

The State Department has designated Qatar as “significant terrorist financing risk” due to its support for Hamas and other terror networks.

David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, has additionally referred to Qatar as “a permissive terrorist financing environment.”

The State Department has further concluded: “Qatari-based terrorist fundraisers, whether acting as individuals or as representatives of other groups, were a significant terrorist financing risk and may have supported terrorist groups in countries such as Syria. The ascension of the new Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani did not result in any political changes that would affect the Government of Qatar’s ability to counter terrorism.”

“Qatar’s lack of outreach and enforcement activities to ensure terrorist financing-related transactions are not occurring and the lack of referrals by the financial intelligence unit of cases are significant gaps,” it added.

Also see:

ISIS Foreign Fighters: Implications for the US

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

By Brian Fairchild:

On August 17, 2014, The British Prime Minister announced that ISIS foreign fighters represent a “clear danger” to citizens “on the streets of Britain”.  In the United States, intelligence agencies report a significant rise in the number of foreign fighters pouring into Iraq and Syria, and warn that ISIS is now establishing cells outside the Middle East.  Any ISIS activity detected in the United States would represent a clear and present danger with national security implications, but to fully understand the nature of the threat, one must first understand the profound ideological and operational differences between core Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Al Qaeda is a Salafi-jihadi organization with a clear ideology, but it is also a practical organization willing to compromise on ideological matters for the sake of obtaining its goals.  Since its creation, it has focused its efforts on creating covert operational and support infrastructures in countries outside of the Middle East, while carving out niches for jihad groups in the ungoverned hinterlands of Yemen, Somalia, and the deserts of Algeria.

According to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, the entire jihad movement is dependent on Muslim popular support for its survival.  Therefore, he refuses to sanction any operation that would alienate the Muslim community.  While he regards the majority of the world’s Muslims as misguided and ignorant of their “true” religion, and sees his mission as creating an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law, he doesn’t demand that Muslims immediately accept and live according to strict Sharia practices.  On the contrary, he has often advised jihad groups not to implement Sharia too rapidly for fear that the population would rebel.

Embracing the old Arabic adage – “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” – he also makes alliances with ideologically tainted entities, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Iran, and he has steadfastly refuses to sanction sectarian war with Shia Muslims.  He adamantly rejects the public slaughter of hostages.

Not all of his associates, however, have held the same convictions.  One in particular, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, rebelled against him.  Zarqawi was the original leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), from which the new Islamic State emerged, and he is revered by the Islamic States leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.  Despite Zawahiri’s preoccupation with popular support, Zarqawi personally beheaded two Americans on video, and uncompromisingly attacked Iraq’s Shia population in an attempt to foment sectarian war, both of which caused negative blowback from the Muslim community.  This prompted Zawahiri to write a revealing letter of reprimand to Zarqawi on July 9, 2005.  The following excerpts from the letter reveal Zawahiri’s preoccupation with maintaining Muslim support and his fear that Zarqawi’s actions jeopardized that support:

On the absolute need for popular support, Zawahiri stated:

  • “…the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy…is popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries. So, we must maintain this support as best we can, and we should strive to increase it…the mujahed (jihad) movement must avoid any action that the masses do not understand or approve…”

On his willingness to compromise on ideology for the benefit of the movement, Zawahiri stated:

  • “Also, the active mujahedeen ulema (Islamic clerics) – even if there may be some heresy or fault in them that is not blasphemous – we must find a means to include them and to benefit from their energy”.

Revealing his belief that bringing proper Salafi-jihadi ideology to the masses would take generations, he wrote:

  • “…correcting the mistakes of ideology is an issue that will require generations of the call to Islam and modifying the educational curricula…the mujahedeen are not able to undertake this burden, rather they are in need of those who will help them with the difficulties and problems they face…it is a duty of the mujahed (jihad) movement…to fill the role of leader, trailblazer, and exploiter of all the capabilities of the Umma (Muslim community) for the sake of achieving our aims…”.

Regarding his belief that attacking the Shia was a mistake, Zawahiri opined:

  • “…the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. My opinion is that this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Revealing his total rejection of Zarqawi’s public beheadings of hostages, he said:

  • “Among the things which the feelings of the Muslim populace…will never find palatable…are the scenes of slaughtering the hostages.”

In response, Zarqawi ignored Zawahiri’s reprimand, and, approximately two months later, he launched an “all-out war” on the Shia.  His insubordination only ceased when he was killed by US forces in July 2006.

In 2013, Zarqawi’s successor and the current leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, received the same kind of reprimands from al Qaeda, and like Zarqawi, he rejected them.  His insubordination caused relations between him and al Qaeda to steadily deteriorate, and finally, in February 2014, the organization officially disowned him.  Al Baghdadi was not deterred, however.  Rather, he went to war with its Syrian affiliate the Nusra Front, and won, and in the process, walked-away with an estimated 80 percent of al Nusra’s foreign fighters.  By early July 2014, al Baghdadi’s ISIS forces swept through Syria and Iraq and established a new “Caliphate” in the heart of the Middle East, which claimed leadership of the worldwide Muslim community.  When al Baghdadi called for Muslims to emigrate to support the Caliphate the number of foreign fighters flooding into Syria and Iraq increased significantly.

In a disturbing new development, the main al Qaeda organizations, heretofore loyal to Zawahiri, appear to be switching sides.  Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), considered by the US government to be the leading threat to the homeland, expressed solidarity with the Islamic State after US airstrikes against it, and pledged to conduct attacks against the US in retaliation.  In addition, the leadership of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is reportedly fractured over support for the Islamic State, and analysts believe the leadership will either come out in support of al Baghdadi, or break in two with one faction supporting him while the other remains loyal to Zawahiri.  The notorious Boko Haram and other Salafi-jihad groups have also pledged allegiance to al Baghdadi.

Al Baghdadi is supremely confident in his leadership and the capabilities of the Islamic State.  So confident is he, that in March 2014, he challenged his nemesis, the al Nusra Front, to Mubahala – a ritual Islamic prayer asking Allah to show his favor for one of the parties while cursing the other.  In Muslim tradition repeated military success can only occur if Allah wills it, and al Baghdadi believes that his series of successes proves that Allah has chosen the Islamic State as the winner.  Moreover, in the latest issue of its official publication, Dabiq magazine, al Baghdadi goes one step further by using the story of Noah and the Ark to legitimize his strict adherence to Sharia law.  No doubt the article also reveals how he views his role as the new “Caliph”.  In the story, Noah is described as an uncompromising prophet who gave his people a single but profound choice:

  • “He didn’t say to them, for example: “I have come to you with the truth, and your leaders are calling you to falsehood, so you are free to choose whether to follow me or to follow your leaders.” In fact, he didn’t even say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me then you would be correct, and if you follow your leaders then you would be mistaken.” Nor did he say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me you will be saved, and if you oppose me and follow your leaders then your reckoning is with Allah, and I have done what is required of me and you are free to choose.” Rather, he told them with full clarity:  “It’s either me or the flood.”[1]

Armed with new success, swelling ranks and funds, and the belief that Allah is on their side, the Islamic State’s leadership and fighters offer a stark and severe contrast to old guard al Qaeda:

  • They don’t care about Muslim public opinion or opposition from core al Qaeda and other jihad groups.
  • They believe that Muslims have no degree of free choice regarding their beliefs.
  • They embrace an “it’s either me or the flood” mentality in which they see themselves as Allah’s chosen vanguard on earth that all other Muslims must follow.
  • They believe that all Shia Muslims are apostates and must be killed.
  • They embrace brutal public executions, beheadings, and crucifixions to send the simple message – Muslims rule, apostates die.
  • They believe their success is a result of divine intervention by Allah.

These attributes, then, define the threat from ISIS’ foreign fighters.  Zawahiri’s reticence to conduct any operations that would offend the worldwide Muslim community is no longer operative.  ISIS fighters have disdain for Muslim public opinion – to them, anything goes.  In 2003, al Qaeda had a terrorist plan to attack the New York subway system with cyanide gas.  The device they created worked and it would likely have killed hundreds, but Zawahiri called the attack off at the last minute, most likely because he assessed there would be a negative backlash from his Muslim support base.  Al Baghdadi’s fighters would have launched the attack.

Read more at Blind Eagle

Reforming the Department of Homeland Surrender

Department+Homeland+Security+Headquarters+TpSfGFx0T7-l-450x293By Michael Cutler:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  Federal agencies understood to play an integral role in protecting the American homeland from terrorist attacks were folded into this bureaucratic leviathan and included, among other federal agencies, the Secret Service, U.S. Customs Service and components of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).

The title of the agency, “Department of Homeland Security,” certainly created the appearance that the issue of national security was at the heart of the massive reorganization of federal agencies, but it became readily apparent that this was not the case.  In fact, the myriad failures of this agency have caused me to come to refer to the DHS as being the “Department of Homeland Surrender.

As noted on the official DHS website, the budget for the DHS for Fiscal Year 2015 has been set at more than $60 billion.  ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has been provided with more than 5.4 billion dollars, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) has been budgeted for nearly 12.8 billion dollars while USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has been budgeted to receive more than 3 billion dollars and the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) will receive more than 7.3 billion dollars.

The Official DHS Website lists it mission as follows:

The Core Missions

There are five homeland security missions:

1. Prevent terrorism and enhancing security;

2. Secure and manage our borders;

3. Enforce and administer our immigration laws;

4. Safeguard and secure cyberspace;

5. Ensure resilience to disasters;

While all sorts of arguments are being made about how secure or insecure our borders truly are, the irrefutable metric about border security has nothing to do with the arrest statistics offered by the administration (which are, at best, highly suspect), but can be found in the fact that our nation finds itself awash with heroin and cocaine.  In point of fact, police departments and other first responder agencies across the United States are providing their members with the antidote to heroin overdoses.  This is an unprecedented measure.

Neither heroin nor cocaine are produced in the United States.  Therefore, every single gram of these substances that are present in the United States provides graphic and incontrovertible evidence of a failure of border security.

How secure can our nation be when our borders are not secure and unknown millions of foreign nationals freely roam the towns and cities of our nation while their very presence in the United States represents a violation of the essential immigration laws that are America’s first line of defense and last line of defense against international terrorists and transnational criminals?

If a company made promises such as those articulated in the DHS mission statement, and did as an abysmal job as the DHS does, it would face all sorts of lawsuits and sanctions — ultimately putting it out of business.  These failures of the DHS are hardly “victimless.”  Every year thousands of people in the United States die because of crimes committed by criminal aliens.  Illegal drugs play a role in most violent crimes committed in the United States — creating still more carnage.

Terror attacks have killed and injured thousands of innocent victims and we have never been more vulnerable to this threat than we are today.

No one has been made accountable for these failures of the immigration system.  The only people who have lost their jobs were those who were slaughtered because of those attacks.

There is an expression that mocks those who fail to act until a tragedy strikes — doing too little, too late.  The expression is, “Closing the barn doors after the horses are stolen.”  This administration, aided an abetted by politicians from both sides of the aisle and those local and state politicians who gloat about creating “Sanctuaries” for illegal aliens are in fact, guilty of taking the barn doors off the hinges after the horses were stolen.

Of course, if, God forbid, there is another terror attack carried out on American soil, these supposed leaders may claim the “insanity defense.”  It has been said that insanity is “Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different outcome.”

On March 9, 2005 I testified before the Subcommittee on Management, Integration and Oversight of the Committee on Homeland Security on the topic: CBP and ICE: Does the Current Organizational Structure Best Serve U.S. Homeland Security Interests? 

In my prepared testimony I made it clear that in my judgement, the creation of the DHS caused many more problems than it solved.

Read more at Front Page

ISIS Never Wanted Ransom to Free Foley

2716020119CSP, By Fred Fleitz:

Did ISIS kill photojournalist James Foley because the United States refused to pay ransom to win his release?  I doubt it.

A 100 million euro ransom was not a serious demand.  ISIS knew the US was unlikely to violate its “no-ransom to terrorists” policy to free Foley and would view paying such an astronomical sum a dangerous and unacceptable precedent.

However, ISIS also knew the Obama administration has shown flexibility with its “no-ransom” and “never negotiate with terrorists” policies and might have agreed to a deal to free Foley through a third party with a smaller ransom.

For example, the Obama administration traded five Guantanamo inmates to free U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on May 31, 2014.  Oliver North claims a third country – possibly Qatar – also paid $5-6 million in ransom to free Bergdahl.  The Obama administration denied ransom was paid or that the prisoner swap constituted the U.S. negotiating with terrorists since Qatar did the negotiating and the United States has not designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization.  This was a distinction without a difference in the eyes of the world – the U.S. obviously negotiated a deal with terrorists to free Berghahl.

There was a similar situation in 2011 when Oman paid $1.5 million in bail to free three American hikers who had wandered into Iran.   The Obama administration made the dubious argument at the time that this didn’t amount to the US negotiating with a terrorist state because the US did not pay the bail.

ISIS knew the Obama administration would never agree to pay a 100 million euro ransom for one man, money that it would use for its campaign of terror.  To understand how outrageous this demand was, consider that according to the New York Times, about $125 million in ransom was paid by European states over the last 5 years to free 29 hostages held by al-Qaeda affiliated groups in the Middle East and north Africa.  The largest single ransom paid was $40 million to free four French nationals.

ISIS demanded a ransom it knew would never be paid because it never planned to release Foley and planned to use his execution to terrorize the region and encourage radicalized Islamists worldwide to join its fanatical cause.  Until President Obama approves a strategy of massive military force to destroy ISIS, it will continue to make gains on the ground, commit atrocities and is certain to attempt terrorist attacks against US interests worldwide, including against the US homeland.

 

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Beheading as Symbolic Warfare

bn-450x251by Dawn Perlmutter:

The videotaped beheading of American journalist James Foley on Tuesday August 19th has shocked the American public even though there has been thousands of beheadings by Islamist jihadists around the world. Last week at the Annual International Association for Identification (Crime Scene) Conference I presented a three hour lecture titled Beheading Epidemic and it was not nearly enough time to cover the forensic and investigation aspects of this widespread global phenomenon.

The videotaped murder of James Foley demonstrates the evolution of beheading as a jihadist tactic made popular by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor group of the Islamic State Army. The similarities and differences are significant. James Foley’s execution involved the classic Al Qaeda forensic signature. Similar to the dozens of Iraqi and foreign hostages that were beheaded by Al Qaeda in Iraq, James Foley had his hands cuffed behind his back, was kneeling in front of his captor and was dressed in the orange clothing symbolic of the type worn by detainees in U.S. prisons and Guantanamo Bay.

Al-Zarqawi’s videotaped ritual beheadings typically included a reading of offenses, confession, judgment, last words, execution, and a verbal statement of demands. The executioner was dressed in military type uniform consisting of black clothing, including ski mask covering his face and prominently displaying the murder weapon, his knife. The ritual pattern typically began with a statement from the executioner reciting the reason for the death sentence, which alluded to current political events, usually teeming with religious language justifying the violence, praise for Allah and often containing future threats. The victim then had the opportunity for last words; sometimes he confessed to being a spy or whatever the group had coerced him into confessing, or pleaded with the audience to acquiesce to the kidnappers’ demands and secure his release. At that point the head was cut off with a small knife by the leader, held in the air and then placed on the victim’s back.

Differences in the ISIS beheading video of James Foley include the high production value, outdoor scenic space and slick editing. Instead of an interior space decorated with terrorist group banners, it is a stark outdoor scene with just blue sky and desert as background placing all focus on the two men and the message to America. Instead of a flag hanging on the wall behind several terrorists, the ISIS black flag emblem is flying in the top left corner occasionally displaying the al-furqan media emblem underneath. Instead of nasheeds playing in the background, the quiet emphasizes both Foley’s scripted speech and the Jihadists threat to kill more Americans. Significantly the sound of screaming, the image of blood gushing out of the wound and the praising of Allah has been edited out. The only bloody graphic is a quick screen shot of the head placed on the center of the back of Foley’s body, proof of death and the classic Islamist Jihadist forensic signature. The impact of the film immediately cutting to and ending with the image of Steven Sotloff, another American journalist dressed in the same orange jumpsuit, the obvious next victim if President Obama does not meet their demands, is exceedingly powerful.

The most significant difference in the James Foley beheading video is the absence of religious language, particularly praising Allah during the execution. There should be no doubt that Allah was praised while cutting Foleys throat and that detail of the murder was deliberately edited out. Praising Allah ritualizes the murder and justifies the violence in the name of Islam. It is extremely atypical that the executioner and other participants during beheadings would not shout the phrase Allahu Akbar. The editing demonstrates that the focus of this propaganda video was political. The message to the American public was that Foleys death was not the result of Islamist ideology but that his death was the consequence of America getting involved in the war against ISIS. This message will most likely resonate with many Americans and illustrates the media savvy of ISIS.

Other than the ritual execution the most disturbing aspect of the murder is that the terrorist is speaking with a British accent. This high production beheading video served several purposes. One was to pressure the American public to stay out of Iraq and Syria and it also functions as a recruitment video for more Westerners to join ISIS. The British jihadist earned his stripes by murdering Foley and he will become a rock star among other radicalized Westerners.

Read more at Front Page

Voice of James Foley’s Executioner:

Published on Aug 20, 2014 by Pamela Geller

 

Also see:

UANI Applauds U.S. House for Passing New Sanctions on Iran’s Terrorist Proxy Hezbollah

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UNAI:

New York, NY – Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously passing the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act (H.R. 4411), a measure to impose further sanctions on the foreign assets of designated terrorist organization Hezbollah. Among other provisions, the legislation would direct the Treasury Department to prohibit a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates Hezbollah activities from maintaining a payable-through account in the U.S. The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Edward R. Royce (R-CA), and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and cosponsored by 321 Members of Congress. The legislation’s Senate counterpart, S. 2329, was introduced by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and has 46 cosponsors.

Said UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:

We applaud the House for voting to toughen sanctions on Hezbollah, the Iranian regime’s terrorist proxy. The House has sent a strong, bipartisan message with this unanimous vote, and we hope the Senate now passes this bill and sends it to President Obama’s desk. As the Administration has noted, Iran remains the world’s top sponsor of terrorism, and Tehran and its agents must be held fully accountable for sowing terror across the globe.

For additional information on Hezbollah and Iran’s terrorist activity, visit the following UANI resources:

Iran VERITAS Project: Documenting Iran’s Violence, Extremism, Repression and Terror

For 35 years the Islamic Republic of Iran has used violence and brutality to consolidate power at home and spread its radical revolutionary ideology abroad. UANI’s Iran VERITAS Project is the definitive record memorializing Iran’s violence, extremism, repression and terrorism at home and abroad.

Iran State Sponsor of Terrorism Timeline

Iran – particularly the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – has been repeatedly tied to terrorist organizations and terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies throughout the world.

State Dept. Ignored Warnings of Iranian Efforts to Destabilize Iraq

Al Qaeda linked militants in Iraq's Anbar Province / AP

Al Qaeda linked militants in Iraq’s Anbar Province / AP

By Adam Kredo:

State Department counterterrorism officials warned in late April that Iran had “trained, funded, and provided guidance” to ethnic Iraqi terror groups bent on destabilizing the country.

The April warning appears to directly contradict and undermine comments last week by a State Department spokeswoman claiming that the United States and Iran have a “shared interest.”

As Iraqi militants continue to wage attacks and seize territory, the State Department has signaled that it is willing to work with neighboring Iran to stabilize the country. They have even raised the idea of discussing Iraq on the sidelines of the ongoing nuclear discussions taking place in Vienna.

However, the recent outreach to Iran runs counter to the State Department’s own Country Report on Terrorism issued just six weeks ago.

That report warned that Iran is building a terror network across the globe and that it was specifically seeking to undermine U.S. goals in Iraq by fostering terror groups on both sides of the ethnic Arab divide in Iraq.

“Despite its pledge to support Iraq’s stabilization, Iran trained, funded, and provided guidance to Iraqi Shia militant groups,” the report stated.

Iran also has sought to protect and bolster al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim group that has ties to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), the extremist terror group that is currently seeking to violently depose the Iraqi government.

“Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al Qaeda (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody,” the State Department determined in its April report.

Read more at Free Beacon

SPENCER: The Left’s Hypocrisy About ‘Right-Wing Terrorism’

millersTruth Revolt:

In covering the killings in Las Vegas by Jerad and Amanda Miller this week, mainstream media commentators once again displayed their hypocrisy and double standard regarding Islamic terrorism and terror attacks that are supposedly “right-wing.”

CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen wrote Tuesday the Millers “appear to have been motivated by extreme far-right views. The couple left a flag at the scene of the crime with the words ‘Don’t Tread on Me,’ a Revolutionary War symbol used by some anti-government extremists.”

Bergen went on to emphasize that “countering violent extremism cannot simply be a demand placed on Muslim communities to prevent jihadist violence. In the decade since 9/11 right-wing extremists have demonstrated their ability to be just as deadly as their homegrown jihadist counterparts.”

Yet while Bergen is ready to equate “right-wing terrorists” with jihadists, he is much less ready to examine the motivating ideology of the latter. While he readily ascribed the Millers’ murders to “extreme far-right views,” when writing in 2006 about the root causes of the 9/11 jihad attack, Bergen stated:

In the many discussions of the “root causes” of Islamist terrorism, Islam itself is rarely mentioned. But if you were to ask Bin Laden, he would say that his war is about the defence of Islam. We need not believe him but we should nevertheless listen to what our enemies are saying. Bin Laden bases justification of his war on a corpus of Muslim beliefs and he finds ammunition in the Koran to give his war Islamic legitimacy. He often invokes the “sword” verses of the Koran, which urge unprovoked attacks on infidels. Of course, that is a selective reading of the Koran and does not mean Islam is an inherently violent faith, but to believers the book is the word of God.

He has demonstrated no similar anxiousness to exonerate “right-wing” beliefs from responsibility for the violence supposed committed because of them. And at the Daily Beast, “Muslim comedian” Dean Obeidallah went even farther in a piece entitled “Home-Grown, Right-Wing Terrorism: The Hate the GOP Refuses to See.” Obeidallah was certain that conservative views led to violence, and that that was why Republicans had ridiculed the idea of “right-wing terrorism” when the Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security issued a warning about it in 2009. “The actual reason Republicans won’t investigate right-wing extremists,” Obeidallah claimed, “is that it would not only anger their base, it would actually indict some parts of it. Let’s be honest: In a time when establishment Republicans are concerned about getting challenged in primaries by more conservative Tea Party types, calling for hearings to investigate right-wing organizations could be political suicide.”

This is the same Dean Obeidallah who recently wrote this about the jihadists of Boko Haram, the Congregation of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad: “The Nigerian terrorist group that kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls has nothing to do with Islam, and it’s grotesquely irresponsible of the media to suggest it does.”

So an avowedly Islamic group that has repeatedly proclaimed that it is fighting in order to establish an Islamic state is not Islamic, and it’s “grotesquely irresponsible” to suggest otherwise. The leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, must have been “grotesquely irresponsible” when he declared: “The reason why I will kill you is you are infidels…The Koran must be supreme, we must establish Islam in this country.”

Obeidallah, who has produced and starred in a “comedy” film about “Islamophobia,” claims that the jihadists are twisting and hijacking his peaceful religion, and that only non-Muslim “Islamophobes” would dare think that anything they do has any justification in Islamic texts and teachings. But the possibility that murders such as Jerad and Amanda Miller are twisting and hijacking peaceful conservative principles that do not in any essential or legitimate way incite to violence does not cross his mind.

Read more at Truth Revolt

Terrorist Groups Rise 58% Since 2010

130221_terrorists-450x306by Arnold Ahlert:

One of the principal narratives of the 2012 Obama re-election campaign — as in al Qaeda has been “decimated” and put on a “on the path to defeat” — has itself been decimated. According to a study released yesterday by the RAND Corporation, there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of jihadist groups over the last four years. Even more troubling, the number of jihadist fighters has doubled, and the number of worldwide attacks has tripled. The report further notes that terrorist groups operating in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan pose the greatest threat to the United States.

“Based on these threats, the United States cannot afford to withdraw or remain disengaged from key parts of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia,” states Seth G. Jones, author of the study and associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND. “After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it may be tempting for the U.S. to turn its attention elsewhere and scale back on counterterrorism efforts. But this research indicates that the struggle is far from over.”

The raw numbers are stark. The number of groups have increased from 31 to 49, the number of fighters to a high estimate of 100,000 and the number of attacks from 392 to approximately 1000.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Jones points out that America also faces significant threats in addition to Islamic jihadism, including the invasion of Ukraine by Russia that threatens our NATO alliance; China’s flexing of its economic, military and cyber muscles in East Asia; and the instability of North Korea. He also puts Iran and their dedicated pursuit of nuclear-weapons in this category.

Jones’s analysis pokes a giant hole in the leftist ideology that posits America’s forays into Iraq and Afghanistan caused an increase in jihadist activity. In fact it is quite the opposite. As America has retreated from the Middle East – completely from Iraq in December of 2011, combined with a highly-publicized schedule of winding down combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of this year — terrorism is surging.

Read more at Front Page

Seven habits of highly effective kingpins

Risky BusinessMoney Jihad:

Criminal and terrorist groups are highly interconnected according to new analysis of data by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. The conventional wisdom was that criminals worry that working with terrorists may draw unwanted scrutiny from their governments, and they are only inclined to cooperate only in resource-poor environments where it is necessary to survive. But the CTC finds that transnational traffickers and criminals appear to be more than willing to partner with terrorists, and that they benefit from these relationships in a wide variety of environments.

The full report can be read here. It is very thorough (89 pages) and includes academic language and models. Here are a just a few of the salient points from the study about members of the global underworld that may be of interest to practitioners and analysts outside of academia:

  1. Interconnected: 98 percent of the individuals in the global illicit marketplace are within two degrees of separation of each other.
  2. International: One in three individuals in the network have international relationships.
  3. Distributed power: Unlike typical hub-and-spoke networks where 80 percent of the connections rely on 20 percent of the actors involved, the global illicit network is somewhat less dependent on a small number of powerful actors/kingpins. Twenty percent of participants are responsible for only 65 percent of underworld connections. This diffuse hub-and-spoke model makes the network tougher for law enforcement to disrupt.
  4. Willingness to work with terrorists: “Individuals involved in other illicit activities link to terrorists 35 percent of the time” (p. 43). Terrorists often serve as “boundary spanners,” that link and form introductions between disparate groups such as drug traffickers, arms dealers, and organized crime.
  5. Frequent bilateral links with the United Arab Emirates: The top two bilateral connections in the criminal underworld–the U.S. and Colombia and the U.S. and Mexico–are probably unsurprising to Americans. The third most prevalent bilateral connections are between India and the U.A.E., and the sixth most common are between Pakistan and the U.A.E.
  6. Organized crime, not just terrorism, benefits from state sponsorship. We know that state sponsorship of terrorism exists, but for some reason we erroneously assume that state sponsorship of crime does not. The evidence from North Korea, Russia, the Balkans, and Pakistan indicates that criminals can carry out national interests—a phenomenon deserving further study.
  7. Convergence is not driven by poverty. Terrorists and criminals are drawn together in a variety of environments, not just in countries where there are little money or resources. The evidence indicates that the opposite is often true—that criminal masterminds prefer climates where there is some level of predictability and economic development, such as Monzer al-Kassar operating in Spain and Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai. Focusing only on failed states could be a red herring.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Twitter user @El_Grillo1 for sending in a link to the CTC study.

Palestinian TV Teaches Kids The Way to ‘Jihad Street’

Cleric Convicted of All Terrorism Charges

 

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney, on Monday after Mostafa Kamel Mostafa’s conviction. Credit Anthony Lanzilote for The New York Times

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney, on Monday after Mostafa Kamel Mostafa’s conviction. Credit Anthony Lanzilote for The New York Times

By 

The fiery British cleric who prosecutors said had “devoted his life to violent jihad” and sent young men around the world to train and fight was convicted Monday of all 11 terrorism-related charges against him.

Prosecutors had charged that the cleric, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, a former imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, helped to orchestrate the violent 1998 kidnappings of 16 American, British and Australian tourists in Yemen; tried to create a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore.; and supported terrorism by sending one of his followers to train with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Four hostages were killed during the kidnappings after their captors, a militant group allied with Mr. Mostafa, used them as human shields during a Yemeni rescue operation. “He jumped at opportunities across the globe to support this violent jihad,” a prosecutor, Ian McGinley, said in his summation last week.

The verdict came on the jury’s second day of deliberations in the sixth week of the trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, marking the end of a long legal battle to bring Mr. Mostafa before a jury. Arrested in London in 2004 after the United States requested his extradition, Mr. Mostafa, who is also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, was tried and convicted in Britain in 2006 on charges of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.

After a lengthy extradition fight, he was sent to the United States in 2012 to face trial in Manhattan. He could face life in prison when Judge Katherine B. Forrest imposes his sentence on Sept. 9.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Mr. Mostafa, 56, testified for several days, denying he had played a role in the Yemeni kidnappings, planned the training camp in Oregon or assisted Al Qaeda.

Prosecutors linked him to the kidnappings through statements he had made to one of the rescued hostages, Mary Quin, who had interviewed him for a book she was writing about her experience. Ms. Quin and a second former hostage, Margaret Thompson, both United States citizens, each offered harrowing accounts of their abductions.

The government also introduced evidence that Mr. Mostafa had provided a satellite phone to the Yemeni militants who used it to communicate with him before and while the hostage-taking was underway.

The government also introduced statements by Mr. Mostafa, in which he had spoken approvingly of Al Qaeda’s 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen, described Osama bin Laden as “a hero” and said, “Everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center.”

Mr. Mostafa’s lawyers argued that the case against their client was based on his words and “not his deeds.”

But after the verdict, the jury foreman, Howard Bailynson, a Westchester resident who works for Xerox, said Mr. Mostafa’s “actions were clearly part of it.” Mr. Bailynson cited evidence like the satellite phone Mr. Mostafa had given to the kidnappers.

Read more at NYT

Confusion on Boko Haram and Terrorism

George Will3By Andrew C. McCarthy, May 17, 2014:

For admirers of George Will and Charles Krauthammer, it’s a real treat to find them together many nights on Bret Baier’s panel on Special Report. But I must confess to nearly falling out of my chair upon watching the replay of a segment last night in which Mr. Will opined that Boko Haram seemed to him more like “a military insurgency” than a terrorist organization. Dr. K vigorously refuted this assertion and was right to do so.

At issue was the State Department’s failure, during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary, to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. I sympathize with Will’s (very) general premise that “terrorist” is an overused term. But the premise was inapposite in this case.

Terrorism is the use and threatened use of mass violence in violation of the laws of war in order to coerce a government or society into policy changes or the acceptance of some ideological agenda. It does indeed trivialize the term to apply it to people who do not commit terrorism, whether they are serious criminals (e.g., mafia hit-men or serial murderers) or, as is fashionable on the Left, to people who merely represent things with which one disagrees (e.g., energy-producers, “the one percent,” or the Tea Party). It is not wrong, however, to refer to terrorists as terrorists—it’s entirely accurate.

Will said he sees terrorism as “random” violence, while Boko Haram seemed to him more like a military insurgency against the Nigerian government. Since Boko Haram has what Will sees as “military objectives,” that somehow suggests to him that its violent attacks are more like lawful combat operations than terrorism. It is tough to unwind all he gets wrong here (though Krauthammer did a very good job of it).

A terrorist organization is distinguished from a militia by its failure to comply with the laws and customs of war—particularly, its intentional targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Al Qaeda has military objectives, too; so does every terrorist organization. The fact that a terrorist organization has “military objectives” is beside the point if it pursues those objectives through mass-murder attacks in conjunction other operations distinguished by their extreme cruelty—like brutally murdering scores of school boys and turning young girls into sex slaves, as Boko Haram does.

I assume that by “random” attacks, Will means that terrorists terrorize by creating an atmosphere of intimidation in which anyone could be attacked at any time. Military insurgencies, by contrast, conduct more regular, predictable attacks, concentrating on targets that have military value (even if hitting them causes collateral damage to civilians). If that’s how he sees it, one has to assume that he simply does not know much about Boko Haram. Its attacks are as random as any other terrorist organization’s. There are more of them, but that is because Boko Haram is a particularly vicious group, not because it is fighting a traditional battlefield campaign. And while it attacks government targets (just like al Qaeda has attacked the Pentagon, U.S. embassies, and U.S. military installations), Boko Haram routinely targets civilian centers, school children, churches, and other Western targets that could only be considered “military objectives” by a violent jihadist who sees non-Muslims as “at war with Islam.”

Moreover, as Bret Baier pointed out, Tom Joscelyn has outlined long-standing ties between Boko Haram and al Qaeda. (Tom’s latest on that, in the Weekly Standard, is here.) Will appears to be under the misimpression (one the State Department promotes) that Boko Haram is not part of the global jihad but is simply waging a local war for political control of Nigeria. But this canard elevates what progressives want to believe about Boko Haram (and radical Islam generally) over the reality of how these groups define themselves.

Boko Haram’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, meaning “People (or The Group) Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teaching and Jihad.” The short handle Boko Haram reflects a part of this overarching Islamic supremacist mission: “Western education is forbidden.” (Note the wishful thinking of progressives repeatedly peddled over the past few days: Boko Haram, we’re told, is not an Islamist group; they are just a backward-thinking political group opposed to education. In fact, what they oppose is Western education; they are all for Islamic education because they are an avowedly Islamist group.)

Boko Haram’s explicit goal is the imposition of sharia law, first in Nigeria (because that’s where they are) but ultimately worldwide. Even then-Secretary Clinton, despite failing to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, acknowledged in congressional testimony that Boko Haram shared al Qaeda’s “jihadist” ideology (see the clip Bret played last night—jihadist is the word Clinton used … no doubt because the Obama administration was being criticized at the time for suppressing it). This jihadist ideology does not recognize national borders, so it is foolish to portray it as content to wage local wars for political control of this country or that. It sees the world as Dar al-Harb (the realm of war) versus Dar al-Islam, in which the latter must conquer the former. In fact, as I noted here at Ordered Liberty a few days ago—citing Tom Joscelyn’s Long War Journalpartner, Bill Roggio—Boko Haram’s leader, Abubaker Shekau, explicitly threatened the United States (in sympathy with al Qaeda) in 2010: “Do not think jihad is over. Rather, jihad has just begun. America, die with your fury.” Like al Qaeda, Boko Haram sees itself as at war with the West and non-Muslims generally, not just with the Nigerian government.

Read more at PJ Media

Mr. Al Qaeda Becomes Mr. Right Wing Extremist?

nidal-hasan-afpBreitbart, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka:

Peter Bergen, CNN’s Mr Al Qaeda, has declared via the New America Foundation, that the real threat to America is not the terrorist group responsible for 9/11, the Fort Hood massacre, or the attempted Time Square bombing, but “right wing extremists.”

As our own John Sexton has ably demonstrated here already the whole edifice of Bergen’s argument is built on a foundation of sand.

The comparison of numbers killed by Jihadists and right winger zealots conveniently leaves out the 2,996 killed on 9/11. Why? That is the most important datapoint of all, surely? Then numerous attacks are added under the rightwing tally that are clearly not rightwing and several Islamically-motivated killers, such as the DC sniper, have been magically erased from the jihadi column.

Besides (intentionally?) sloppy math, the whole exercise is fundamentally flawed at the strategic level.

Al Qaeda is not just a domestic threat to the continental United States or just to Americans in America. One can argue all day long about President Bush and Iraqi WMDs, but on what basis does Bergen and the NAF exclude the death and maiming of US troops fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan or our Ambassador in Benghazi and the three brave Americans who tried to save him from local jihadists?

Then there is the absurdity of only counting successful attacks and using this as the measure of who is a more serious threat.

Sixteen jihadi plots targeting NY alone have been intercepted since 2001. We can never know how many more across the country since many will have been thwarted without an arrest or a prosecution, but it is likely hundreds, and hundreds that each could have had hundreds or thousands of victims. And the counterargument that white supremacists and rightwing extremist may have also plotted many more attacks is fallacious too, as these actors usually kill in the single digits. Al Qaeda specializes in spectaculars, be it 9/11, 7/7 in London, or the Bali and Mumbai attacks. I challenge Bergen to point to one rightwing attack on the scale of any of these.

Then of course there is the issue of why there have been so many intercepted jihadi plots here in the US. The Director of National Intelligence stated earlier this year in open congressional testimony that al Qaeda has operational centers in 12 nations around the world. Every member of each one of those organizational hubs is committed to destroying America after they have killed President Assad, taken over Mali, or retaken Egypt for the “true believers.” Can we compare this to rightwing extremism or any other organized threat to America? Even North Korean and the Russia Federation pale in comparison to the international conspiracy that is Global Jihad.

If one makes a more honest assessment of the threat then the facts tell a different story and the relevant dangers reverse.

Below is a chart of the number of attacks linked to al Qaeda globally over the last few years, based upon unclassified sources.

If you add information from the START database to the above you get the following disturbing graph.

The key fact here is the trendline.

Despite the narrative of the White House that al Qaeda is spent and dying, AQ has in fact become more and more dangerous. So why does Peter Bergen and why does the NAF want to convince us of the opposite, that rightwing extremists are a bigger threat to America than those who were responsible for 9/11?

Perhaps the clue lies in Fort Hood. The authors of the study state unequivocally:

Today, almost 13 years after 9/11, al Qaeda has not successfully conducted another attack inside the United States.

Excuse me? So the Fort Hood massacre was indeed “workplace violence?”

The fact that Major Nidal Hasan–before he killed 12 of his fellow soldiers, a civilian, and an unborn child, and wounded another 30-plus people–was in regular contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the top leaders of al Qaeda in Yemen, doesn’t make it a jihadi attack? Should we list it under the Ku Klux Klan perhaps?

Peter Bergen built his career on al Qaeda, as “the man who interviewed bin Laden.” He must have a very strong reason for trying to make his career-building subject of al Qaeda seem irrelevant. Could it be the crown he now hangs with? The NAF board members bios are here. The real report on Fort Hood written by the former director of the FBI–that was of course released by the Obama administration on a Friday afternoon–is here.

You be the judge of who threatens us more.

Sebastian Gorka PhD is the national security editor for Breitbart.com